As confidence in the readiness of the ecosystem develops, the number of service providers completing their first open RAN / virtualized RAN (vRAN) installations is growing quickly. vRAN allows service providers to disaggregate the software and hardware in their wireless infrastructure and benefit from the use of virtualized network functions and generic server hardware. By deploying open RAN architectures and platforms, service providers have the option to source elements of the solution from multiple suppliers rather than from a single incumbent supplier.
To find out more from service providers about how they plan to deploy open RAN and vRAN platforms and architectures for 5G networks, Heavy Reading ran an exclusive survey of individuals working for operators with mobile network businesses. The results are presented in an analyst report, Open RAN Platforms and Architectures Operator Survey Report, that can be downloaded for free here.
A total of 113 individuals working for operators with mobile network businesses gave responses to the survey. When asked when they believe the open RAN / vRAN ecosystem will be ready for mass deployment, 19% said it was ready now, and a further 19% said it would be ready during the next 12 months. Overall, more than 70% said that they believe the open RAN / vRAN ecosystem will be ready for mass deployment within the next two years.
These results suggest that some service providers believe the ecosystem is already mature enough for them to go ahead with first installations. However, others are waiting for further developments that will improve open RAN / vRAN performance and enable a wider choice of suppliers.